I’ve been away for a little over a week. Thank you for your patience.
I spent a week in Durham, North Carolina at Duke Divinity’s Center of Reconciliation’s Summer Institute. It is truly a holy place. Christians from all over North America and many parts of the world gathered to learn more about the journey of biblical reconciliation. As my friend Carmille and I sat down for lunch on the second day, we met Bishop Johnson, a bishop from northern Uganda. If you’re not familiar with that part of the world, that is where Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (around 1996) began kidnapping Ugandan children, taking them out to the bush, training them as soldiers, and then sending them back to kill, rape, and maim their own family members. The children were threatened with death and torture if they did not follow orders.
The bishop asked my friend and I to come and see (as opposed to coming and trying to fix) northern Uganda. He also told us that he and other church leaders told their government that they would forgive the children who had killed their own families. They would welcome the child soldiers back without retaliation. Many of these child soldiers want to return to what is left of their homes and are willing to try and escape from the LRA. However, they fear retaliation. With this promise from bishop Johnson and other church leaders, many child soldiers have escaped the LRA returning to open arms of forgiveness.
I do not think that this forgiveness comes easy, but these brothers and sisters in northern Uganda who are extending forgiveness to the child soldiers after having been ravaged by them display the power of the gospel. They incarnate forgiveness.
I talked to another woman who cares for aids orphans in northern Uganda. She said she prays that not one more child will be kidnapped by Kony’s LRA and that no more children or people will be killed. The Lord’s Resistance Army is now moving into the Democratic Republic of Congo. Let us pray that God will stop Kony somehow, that he’d be arrested, and that peace and restoration would return in the midst of murder, pain, and violence.
If one part of the body hurts, the rest of us hurt.
For more information about the LRA and the child soldiers (called the invisible children) see this link: http://www.invisiblechildren.com/